Sunday, February 25, 2007

Worship Policies at Walla Walla College

I'm still busy with a process of benchmarking the dorm handbook and practices in Salisbury House with other Adventist institutions worldwide.

Yesterday I found Walla Walla College's Residence Hall Handbook.

I will quote their worship policies below and then I will make two comments.


All Residence Hall students are expected to attend campus worships. There are several worship options that are available for credit. Turning in worship cards (available at the Front Desk) are the means of keeping track of worships. Worship reeducation forms are available at the Front Desk for students who have conflicting schedules and feel that they need a reduction in the worship requirements. Your RA will post current worship totals.

These are the worship requirements, by academic credits earned:

1-44 credits earned 3 worships per week
45-89 credits earned 2 worships per week
90-135 credits earned 1 worship per week

136+ credits earned optional

Worship attendance is optional for students who are 21 or older. All students are expected to attend chapel.

We encourage you to worship together publicly and privately. It is by coming together collectively that we all experience being a part of God’s family.

As will all policies, there are consequences for noncompliance. If you do not fulfill your worship requirement, you can expect the following:
1. The first time you will be fined $25 in addition to assigned reading and report per credit.
2. The second time you will be fined $50 and will have to meet at Dean’s staff meeting on Wednesday morning between 10:30 and 12:30.
3. The third time you may be asked to take a quarter off of school to reevaluate if WWC is really the place you want to be. A new school year does not start the process over. Anytime you change in class standing, you must have completed one good quarter of attendance before receiving the next level of privileges.


Monday 9:30 p.m. OPS Sittner Lobby
Tuesday 9:30 p.m. Student Huebach Chapel
Wednesday 9:30 p.m. Fireside Dale Court
Thursday 9:30 p.m. RA Your Hall
Friday Sundown Chaplains Sittner Chapel
7:30 p.m. Vespers College Church
Sunday Sunday Night Live Conard Chapel

Authorized Small Group worships that meet at least one hour weekly count as two credits.

My Two Comments:

Comment 1 I think having worship at 21:30 at night is a fabulous idea. Our worships take place at 19:15. I always feel that it cuts my evening in half and that I lose out on the following: Productivity: What happens between supper and worship? There is not enough time to do anything. Family time: All other families spend their nights together. By the time I come home from worship, my wife and daughter are in bed or on their way to bed. Prime TV. I don't really watch a lot of TV, but I long for a time when I can watch the full installment of news (19:00 - 19:30) or Amazing Race or Survivor (19:30 - 20:30).

Imagine having supper at 17:30 and spending the rest of the evening until 20:30 making maximum use of daylight hours, pursuing leisure activities like sport or watching Television. Then worship at 21:30 and by 22:00 you go to your room to study. High school can have a study hour between 20:30 and 21:30 and then go to worship, and immediately after worship they can shower and go to bed. No more worries for the deans about high school students running around uncontrolled on campus after the sun has set.

Comment 2: Mnn... I'm so excited about this new idea of worship at 21:30 that I forgot the other comment. ... aha ... I love the idea of having worship on Wednesday evenings around a fire. What if we found a spot on central campus where we could do something similar?

I'd love to hear your opinion.

Photo Diary: Lion's Head, Signal Hill Outing

On Saturday, 24 February 2007 we rented a bus with the intention of exploring a new part of Cape Town. As a college we had not gone to Kirstenbosh in the last 3 years. Our idea was to hike from Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosh.

There was however a slight hick-up. Despite having sent a fax to book the bus a week earlier, and despite the fact that I had received a faxed confirmation from the bus company, the bus never arrived. When I called them, they said that we had not confirmed with them. They had to find a driver quickly and we ended up leaving 90 minutes later than we had planned. I realised that we would not make it to Kirstenbosh on time, and we decided to do an old favorite trip to Lion's Head and Signal Hill.

When we arrived in Cape Town everything was covered in cloud. The walk up the mountain is well marked and our students were not hindered from doing the exciting and spectacular climb ... without the spectacular views.

This was my second trip up Lion's head, but I have yet to summit. This time I had these three kids (The middle one is my daughter) with me and we navigated precarious paths and thick mist to finally stop at this beautiful pine-tree.

At 19:00 we drove to Signal Hill. At first the bus struggled to find parking. It was now cold and the clouds deposited lots of little droplets of water on us. We congregated at a lookout-point which now had no view and let rip with a lovely and lively worship service. I thought I should title the following three photo's "Faces of worship."

Here we were singing, "Walk in the Light"
This is Bradley Golden participating in a lively venacular song. Where else do you see such radiant faces during a worship service? Helderberg is really a good place to be.

(Guess who did not close his eyes during the final prayer.) This is the holiest that I have ever seen Hiimunza. He is generally quite a devil :-).

We became quite a tourist attraction. As we were wrapping up our worship, a group of strangers just came and joined us. Later we realised that they were from one of our churches (Thembalethu). Our rythmic and animated singing attracted the attention of a few visitors from overseas and they were walking all around us making a video of the event. I wish we could have had a Helderberg College banner with us for the international marketing that we were doing :-).

Before we got onto the bus to go to Canal Walk I took the following pictures. It is really satisfying to see so many happy faces.

(By the way, Cecil Errens lived in my dormitory last year. He left the dorm after he got married to this beautiful lady.)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Memories of an Old Student

One of our old students discovered this blog and left some comments. I think they are really worth noticing, so I decided I would put them on the main blog.

The student is known as K. I hope my current students do not take everything that he recounts to heart. :-) The "barney's" sound like trouble, and so does the idea of giving the dean a hard time :-).


There are so many things that I could tell you. We were quite an active bunch and we really gave Mr. Van As a hard time!

My first days in the dormitory started at the begining of 1988, and back then, the dorm had not been refurnished yet. We still had the old mismatching furniture, with rickety beds, bare wooden floors, antique chests of drawers and ancient ablution blocks...but the dorm's revamp started in that same year, so we were the first inhabitants of the new dorm!

I can still remember that the built-in cupboard in my room had a hole in it's ceiling (as did a couple of my friends' rooms), so after Lights-Out, we used to climb up into the ceiling and visit in each other's rooms or just crawl around and chat in the darkness of the roof! Polla, (the African Grey parrot, is he still there?), used to be a treat too. I used to teach him my name and we used to get him to make anouncements over the intercom, so time and again, Polla used to call me to the foyer! Then we also had regular Barney's, I don't know if the High School guys still do it, but we used to gather in the top floor passage after evening study hour, and we would thrash each other! Only rules being that there's no hitting above the shoulders and below the belt, though kicking a guys backside was ok!

We loved sport obviously. We played soccer in the soaking rain, and would go to the cafeteria drenched and muddy, but very hyped. Basketball, indoor soccer, swimming, squash, not to mention athletics. We were always so competitive, and it was good clean fun. I had 3 records in athletics which actually stood for a number of years. Doubt that it's still there though. Miss. C. Reyneke was my favourite teacher, and Mr A. Pretorius (That is Mr. Joubert) was the most interesting, comes with the biology territory I suppose.

So you can see, I have good memories, but also some that had major impacts which I'm still trying to figure out whether it was for the better or not.

All I can say to the students of today is, appreciate the beauty of your surroundings, climb the mountain regularly, study hard and make a success of it, be kind to each other, respect your elders, love with compassion and make it count. Life on campus is over in a flash, though it doesn't feel like it while you're there. Remember to keep contact with all your friends after you leave, it's been 15 years since I left, and today I do not have contact with a single person that I knew back then. Don't let that happen to you, treasure your friendships and allow it to grow, you won't believe how important networking is when you're on the outside.

But that's enough of my rambling for now, I hope to be able to converse with more of you as time goes by, it helps to ease the nostalgia.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Values to live by

One of the major themes that I spend much of my time reflecting about is the theme of Freedom. This is a bit odd for a dormitory dean who needs to lock doors and enforce rules. But fortunately my freedom is not quite the kind of Freedom that Freddie Mercury sings about when he says, "I want to break free!" (although, I think that Queen does in fact grapple with Freedom on a deeper level than we would sometimes care to admit).

Have I mentioned that I am an ardent fan of open source computer technology and the philosophy behind it? One of the open source operating systems based on GNU/Linux is called Ubuntu.

I have version 6.10 of this operating system installed on my computer and as far as I am concerned it is much better than Windows XP or even Vista.

I like the philosophy of Ubuntu. I found this code of conduct for Ubuntu developers. I think they really do reflect the values that I find important in my life. I think this is a useful list of values with which to manage a dormitory as well. (Credit to Christer Edwards for posting a blog about these values)

  • Be considerate. Your work will be used by other people, and you in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision you take will affect users and colleagues, and we expect you to take those consequences into account when making decisions.
  • Be respectful. The Ubuntu community and its members treat one another with respect. Everyone can make a valuable contribution to Ubuntu. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behaviour and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. We expect members of the Ubuntu community to be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the Ubuntu project, and with users of Ubuntu.
  • Be collaborative. Ubuntu and Free Software are about collaboration and working together. Collaboration reduces redundancy of work done in the Free Software world, and improves the quality of the software produced. You should aim to collaborate with other Ubuntu maintainers, as well as with the upstream community that is interested in the work you do. Your work should be done transparently and patches from Ubuntu should be given back to the community when they are made, not just when the distribution releases. If you wish to work on new code for existing upstream projects, at least keep those projects informed of your ideas and progress. It may not be possible to get consensus from upstream or even from your colleagues about the correct implementation of an idea, so don’t feel obliged to have that agreement before you begin, but at least keep the outside world informed of your work, and publish your work in a way that allows outsiders to test, discuss and contribute to your efforts.
  • When you disagree, consult others. Disagreements, both political and technical, happen all the time and the Ubuntu community is no exception. The important goal is not to avoid disagreements or differing views but to resolve them constructively. You should turn to the community and to the community process to seek advice and to resolve disagreements. We have the Technical Board and the Community Council, both of which will help to decide the right course for Ubuntu. There are also several Project Teams and Team Leaders, who may be able to help you figure out which direction will be most acceptable. If you really want to go a different way, then we encourage you to make a derivative distribution or alternative set of packages available using the Ubuntu Package Management framework, so that the community can try out your changes and ideas for itself and contribute to the discussion.
  • When you are unsure, ask for help. Nobody knows everything, and nobody is expected to be perfect in the Ubuntu community (except of course the SABDFL). Asking questions avoids many problems down the road, and so questions are encouraged. Those who are asked should be responsive and helpful. However, when asking a question, care must be taken to do so in an appropriate forum. Off-topic questions, such as requests for help on a development mailing list, detract from productive discussion.
  • Step down considerately. Developers on every project come and go and Ubuntu is no different. When you leave or disengage from the project, in whole or in part, we ask that you do so in a way that minimises disruption to the project. This means you should tell people you are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where you leave off.

For those that feel I have at any time fallen short of this code I apologize. I try as best I can and I am going to continue as best I can moving forward. I try to remember this standard in my day to day and hope we can pass on these ideals to those around us.

I try to remember the words of Desmond Tutu in describing what Ubuntu means:

“A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in No Future Without Forgiveness

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Indaba

I know this is old news, but I just discovered the online version of the Helderberg College student Indaba.


Thank you Sanaliso, Otieno and all other contributors. I hope you keep up the good work.

More Rules

I received an interesting report last night from one of our students who graduated at Helderberg and is now studying at Southern Adventist University.

One of his family members is with him and she is having a hard time because she has been forced to pay a $10 fine for missing worship on two occasions.

I immediately went to browse their website and found their Residence hall handbook. I think it is worth comparing their handbook to ours. They are fundamentally the same. We definitely have the same concerns and we are all dealing with the same issues.

Here is Southern's Residence Hall handbook and here is Salisbury House's handbook.

Let me mention what stands out for me:

1. The issue of single rooms. I saw this policy on Friendensau's website as well. All rooms are provided with furniture for two students. The expectation is that you will have a roommate. If you want to have a room without a roommate the cost for renting the room becomes more (1.5 x the cost of renting a double room). I think that is a fair policy and one that could work at Helderberg. It gives you a choice in the matter.

2. I like Southern's approach to worship attendance, although there are so many small regulations to keep in mind (you only get credit for attending one worship a day etc.) But I like the choice that they give. I also like the fact that they treat mature students (over the age of 23 slightly differently to younger students.)

3. I see that Southern has taken very strong steps to ensure that students look after furniture in their rooms and that they do not move it out. Moving furniture without permission incurs quite a hefty fine. From my perspective as manager of the dormitory that is very helpful because I struggle every December to figure out what furniture belongs where.

4. I am intrigued by the fine system at Southern University. Almost every time you break a rule you get a fine. I would love to ask them how they administer that? I am also trying to figure out how many dormitory deans they have.

5. I would love to know what level of student debate there is about rules and regulations. Do students accept the rules?

I'd love to hear your comments.

College Social Programme: 1st Semester 2007



24 February

Kirstenbosh/Signal Hill/ Canal Walk

25 February

Playstation Tournament

3 March

DVD Evening

11 March

Boysdorm Open House

17 March

Interhouse Volleyball

18 March

Robben Island / V&A

21 March

Helderberg Interhouse Gala

19 – 23 March


24 March

Barn Party

31 March

Midterm Break

7 April

Easter/ Midterm Break

14 April

Midterm Break

21 April

22 April

Swimming Gala

28 April

Reach for the Stars (Talent Evening)

29 April-2 May

Long Week-end

5 May

Poetry Evening

12 May

Helderberg Street Festival

19 May

Drama Concert

26 May


2 June

DVD Evening

Friday, February 16, 2007


Kethelo Mazibuko lives in Salisbury house.

He has just been awarded a 100% scholarship. He was one of Five students who applied for this scholarship. In order to qualify you need to have a good record of leadership and involvement on campus. You need to also have good grades (above 65% average). You need to be able to prove that you are in need of the scholarship and that you have tried your best to fund your studies.

Kethelo, we are very proud to have you at the College and in our dorms. We know that you will continue to make a good contribution to our community.

I have been informed that students will be able to apply for a scholarship like this in the second semester.

Transport tips and Suggestions

Students love to be mobile. How do Salisbury House Residents become mobile?

I have a few suggestions:

1. The college bus service to town once a week. This is the most affordable transport to town. Students who own cars charge approximately R15 per person to drive 6 km's down to town. The college bus, which leaves every Friday afternoon at 14:00 and returns at 17:30 costs only R5 per trip. The only way that is cheaper is to walk.

2. Car ownership is expensive. Many students believe that the only costs involved with owning a car is the cost of putting in petrol. But this is not true. You generally need to pay for the vehicle (Average: R1000 - R1700 p/m). You need to insure the vehicle (average R350 p/m). You need to service the vehicle (Average R4000 per year). And then you need to pay for petrol (average R0.60 per kilometre). If mobility is important to you I have a better suggestion:

Buy a brand new 125cc Motorbike. I bought one for myself (story here). I paid R7500 for it. Services cost R200. My motorbike is insured at R100 per month. Petrol consumption is 42 km's per litre of petrol. The bike does not generally travel more than 80km's per hour, so it is relatively safe, especially if you drive carefully. You won't even have to pay too many speeding fines! You can take a passenger with you. If you are adventurous you can even travel through the whole Western Cape on the motorbike. I cannot think of a better mode of student transport.

3. One option that is almost always a possibility for a foreign student who plans to spend a year or so at Helderberg, is to buy a used vehicle in South Africa (you could get a reasonably good one for 3000 Euro) and drive it while you are here. When you leave you should be able to sell the car for almost the same price.

4. Finally, the healthiest way to go, the way that I am thinking of more and more these days, is to just go the pedestrian way. I don't think I've been to a single town or city where there are not several hiking trails or footpaths available. I don't think there is a better way to get to know a place than by getting to know it on foot. Buy a nice walking stick (R200) and good shoes (R400) and go for long walks. It keeps you fit, and you get to truly experience the beauty of a place.

Talking about Transport

I find that this year we have less student cars on campus than in previous years. This is impairing general mobility!

One bit of good news is that Moyo (a student who graduated last year) wants to sell his car. It is currently parked behind the men's residence and it is available for R3500.00 to the first person who deposits the money into his account.

The car is licensed. There is one small snag. Before it is allowed to be on the road, it needs to be put through a road-worthy test. My estimate is that it will cost a minimum of R3500 - R4000 to put the Green Mamba through this test.

If you are interested, please contact me as soon as possible.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Warning Letter From: Chief Comrade

I've been asked to convey this message to the second year students by a few of the first year students:

You Strike a Comrade you strike a Rock

Forget about the pool

Or you will be in the pool.

You have been warned.

(Mnn... I wonder what that could mean. I was told this is particularly meant for: Clementine, Peter, and Mpho.)

The author of this message appears below.

I will rather not mention his name. I don't want to be held responsible for what might happen to him.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

South Africa Rocks

This is an exciting new website that I will certainly be keeping an eye on. It is filled to the brim with positive stories, pictures, art and experiences.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Unfortunately Fortunate

Zolani was back for 1 week when he was involved with a nasty accident.

He was travelling with three of his friends and needed to turn across a stream of oncoming traffic at a traffic light. He waited in the middle of the interesection until the traffic light turned red and then crossed. Unfortunately another impatient driver had decided to skip the red traffic light and collided head-on with Zolani. The other driver ended up in hospital. Nobody in Zolani's car was hurt.

Zolani's car is insured and we are all hoping that his new car will look something like the picture below. In the mean time the whole college is suffering because there is one less vehicle to transport students to town for snacks at 22:00 at night.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Coming out of hibernation

Technically the title for this post is not quite correct.

It is the middle of summer here and we've had some very warm days.
College has also been up and running for about 3 weeks and a lot has been happening.
So much that I have in fact not been getting a lot of sleep!
So I finally have a quiet hour to reflect on everything that happened.

First of all I spent a large portion of my holidays preparing a computer laboratory in Room 9 in the dorm. The laboratory is connected to the internet. It consists of 5 computers running Suse Linux SLED10. (Have I mentioned that I am a linux enthusiast? It was quite a triumphant feeling everytime that I deleted Windows off a computer and put free software onto these machines.)

Then the high school students began to arrive. All 20 of them. And a whole bunch of new ones. Guys like Joseph and Thabo, and Natangwe, Dimitrio, Tella, Diitsetso, Rehabetswe. It always takes some time to get the new guys used to the culture at Helderberg, but these guys are nice guys and we are having a lot of fun with them.

This is Dimitrio. He is from Oranjemund. Mnn... what else should I say about him. I'm worried that his mother might read this blog, and then he will be in trouble :-).
Diitsetso. He is the social guy. He still needs to understand that holidays are the times when he goes home. School is for work. Fortunately his brother, Tella, is looking after him.

This is Tella. He shares a room with Diitsetso. Did I mention that they are twins? Tella got 86% for his first Mathematical Literacy test. He looks serious, but he is a lot of fun. They come from Bloemfontein.

Joseph is from Port Elizabeth. He is a really cool guy. He has a good sense of humour. I don't think it is possible to get him angry. And he is almost always one of the last ones to be ready for school or church.
Rehabetswe's name has immediately been rehabilitated to "Rehab". I feel a bit sorry for him. His brother has been at the dormitory for two years. Rehabetswe is in Grade 10 and his brother is in Matric. The two have quite different personalities and we often feel a bit surprised when Rehabetswe does not respond in exactly the same way to things as Regaugetswe (the brother). They come from a town in North West called Hartswater. They must have very good parents because they are such nice guys. (Regaugetswe will probably growl at me when he reads this).
Natangwe joins us from Windhoek. He completely dislikes the idea that he has to attend worship every night, but he has fortunately not given us too much of a hard time because of it. I like him because he seems very accepting of people and he has immediately made many friends.

We do of course also have a few old students. I'm not quite sure what Peter and Bulumko are doing here. They might be practicing for a special item.

Soon after the high school arrived, we took all our Resident Assistants and Assistant Deans on a camp. We coined the term, RAD. We had a lot of fun at a place called Breede River Escape.
We subjected them to five hours of leadership training seminars. They subjected us (the deans, and Ps. Letseli, to other more heinous forms of torture.)

Jody taking a plunge.

Baptism by flower and stones.

PS! I hereby give every citizen of Salisbury House and Anne Visser house to use whatever means you will to revenge yourselves upon these two perpetrators of crime.

A lot more has happened. But I will have to write more later as I have another appointment.